Signaturit: The startup that started life in EAE’s incubator
02 de December de 2020
02 de December de 2020
The world of startups is now one of the sectors with the brightest prospects in the whole of Spain. The fast growth of the sector, its efficient use of technology and its capacity to withstand crises such as Covid-19 has made this one of the highly rated areas at a global level and, as a result, one of the most attractive sectors for people who want to develop professionally.
EAE Business School really held another session of its Career Talks, in which the specialist and investor, Anindya Saha, had an interesting conversation with Juan Zamora, the founder and CEO of Signaturit. In an enjoyable, dynamic discussion, they explored the progress of this startup that began life in EAE’s incubator and which now has over 100 employees.
They also discussed a number of key factors for discovering and operating in the fascinating world of Spanish startups. Are you ready for some insight into the startup ecosystem? Let’s find out more!
“At Signaturit, we help companies save time and money by streamlining the process of signing contracts online with full legal guarantees. Things that used to take ages, we can now do in minutes”.
Juan, what led you to launch Signaturit?
Since I was a child, I have always been really curious. From the age of 15, I was already doing small projects with IT. I did not know how to ground ideas, but new technologies helped me.
Experiences at both a personal and professional level made me see the problem of signing contracts or other documents remotely, and that is how it all started. At the end of 2012, we got started and then went into the incubator.
You started with a team of 10 or 12 people and you now have over 100 employees. How have you managed that?
The key has been talent management. Right from the start, we knew that it was not all just about the idea, but also the team. So, we have focused on creating a culture in which people can share their ideas and work together collaboratively.
All the growth has been gradual and cautious. In 2019, we underwent the greatest growth. It is essential to ensure that you are all aligned, communicating and fostering the culture. It is just as crucial to lead by example. You have to know how to trust and delegate.
Have any of team members started from scratch and made their way up to middle management?
In fact, we have team members who started at 19 years old in sales teams and have been at the company for 7 years, now in positions of greater responsibility and focusing on meeting targets. I sincerely believe that startups are the best environment to grow in. However, there are people who do not adapt, who do not like it, so it is important to know yourself well.
How did you select talent when you started?
I met my co-founder at EAE’s incubator. I have always looked for people who are better than me in different areas. The CEO is like a jack of all trades: they know a bit about everything but they are not a specialist in anything in particular. Therefore, it is a matter of being able to guide and hire people who are better than you in order to reach the target you have set.
One of the biggest problems nowadays is people’s ego. You sometimes have to step to one side and understand that somebody who knows more than you is a support, not a rival.
What are you looking for when hiring in a startup? Experience or other factors?
It depends at the stage you are at with the company. In the early stages, you look for ambition, passion, energy and commitment. People willing to give their all for the company.
In terms of positions, we look for the people that our departments need. In the case of leaders, ideally, they will come from bigger companies, so they can contribute and help us. We also look for more junior profiles that can grow with the company.
What qualities can you identify in the people who joined the company at the start and are still there?
In my opinion, it is the personal ambition of them all. They have also been able to adapt and understand what the company needs from them. They have had the strength and made the sacrifice to withstand hard times, because they had faith in the company. All in all, most importantly, they have the capacity to understand the company’s needs and adapt to them.
Do you see anything negative about having worked in several companies in rotation?
It depends how long. It is a bit strange if they have been at 4 companies for 6 months each over the course of 2 years. But it is normal to change job. It is not generally seen as a bad thing. It also depends on each case.
Do startups actively look for foreign professionals?
We do not have a preference. At Signaturit, there are professionals of 12 nationalities. At the end of the day, startups look for global products, so we really do not mind where somebody comes from, as long as they are willing to work hard and make a lot of effort. In fact, in my experience, a mixture of cultures and perspectives has always been really positive.
What is the first step in embarking in an entrepreneurial venture?
Looking for a minimal team because it is impossible to drive a company forward on your own. Not as many as 10, but the real minimum to enable fast, cohesive development.
How do you acquire talent?
Right from the start, we had somebody in charge of talent acquisition and retention, which is just as important. We now have people for different departments who help team members adapt and develop.
Do you have any message for young talent?
There are no short cuts to success. Everything requires sacrifice and hard work. You have to be aware that being an entrepreneur takes 24/7 effort, passion and a lot of dedication.